468. The Absolution of Vows

67:7 Let’s say that a person accepted upon himself some stringency in a permitted matter so that it should serve as a safeguard for self-control. For example, he fasted during the days of selichos, or he refrained from eating meat and drinking wine for the entire period of three weeks preceding Tisha b’Av. Even if he only did this on one occasion but his intention was to always do so, or if he acted this way three times even though he did not intend to always do so, if he did not specify that he was acting without a vow (“bli neder”) and he wants to go back to his previous practice because he is unwell, he needs to be absolved of a vow. The first step of the absolution process is stating his regret for accepting this practice as a vow. Therefore, if a person wants to accept some stringency in order to help his self-control, he should first state that he does not accept it as a vow. He should also say that his intention is to act this way only on this one occasion or as desired but not all the time.

67:8 A vow or an oath is absolved by going to three Torah-observant Jews, one of whom is an expert in the laws of vows and who knows which kinds of vows may or may not be nullified and how to do so. This panel then absolves him of the oath or the vow. If a person makes a vow in a dream, it is advisable for him to have it absolved by a panel of ten.

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